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How to ask a college for more money?

bluecow219bluecow219 Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
I got into my safety school, the University of Dayton, and was offered a very generous scholarship of $13,500 per year. But, with tuition and room and boad combined, that still leaves around $24,000 left.

My question is, how do you ask a school for more money? People tell me all the time, "Oh yeah, contact the financial aid office and they might be able to offer you more." But what do I say? Please give me more money? Help?
Post edited by bluecow219 on

Replies to: How to ask a college for more money?

  • sblake7sblake7 Registered User Posts: 1,691 Senior Member
    Good topic, especially this time of year.

    I'd like to hear the experiences of other applicants and parents, and also our FinAid officers that post here.

    Better to phone, or write?

    Better for the parent to contact, or the student?

    From reading here and elsewhere, but not from personal experience, I understand that it's best to approach the financial aid folks politely, asking for reconsideration given your circumstances, emphasizing how much the applicant wants to go to their school but the family cannot afford it, and perhaps submitting a more substantial financial aid award being offered by a "peer" school.
  • nurseratchetnurseratchet Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    A sincere letter from the STUDENT is the best approach. Tell them how much you love this college and how much you would like to attend. Mention what you have to offer as a student (previous HS involvement in activities, strong interest in community service etc) Ask politely if a review of the FA award is possible and if there are any special circumstances mention them. Ask if there's a possibility of an RA position as a freshman to help with costs. There usually isn't for freshman but it shows you are trying to come up with ideas to be able to attend. Make it heart felt and sincere. I would then follow up with the FA advisor via phone in about a week. Good Luck!!
  • LasMaLasMa Registered User Posts: 10,847 Senior Member
    One tip I've heard: Never use the word "negotiate." Colleges don't like to think of themselves in the same category with used cars. "Appeal" and "review" are the preferred terms.

    One of our colleges states on their website that they review only if circumstances have changed, or if there's information they're not aware of. They won't change their offer based merely on the fact that you can't afford it. I have no idea if this policy is typical.

    I hear that some colleges will get creative and try to meet better offers that you've gotten from other schools. I've also heard that some colleges are turned off by this tactic; they feel it's beneath their dignity to get involved in an auction.

    It's like so many other aspects of college app: Some experts say this, some experts say that, everyone has a different experience, and no one really seems to know definitively. When the time comes for us, I like your approach, nurseratchet. A polite letter can't hurt, but I won't hold my breath that it will make a significant difference.
  • milkandsugarmilkandsugar Registered User Posts: 2,869 Senior Member
    I agree with writing a letter stating that you really want to attend the school and is there any way they can increase the award to make it possible for you to attend. Also if you received better offers you can mention it. Many people I know have done this and it has increased their award. My D did this last year for freshman year and they did increase it by 2000 dollars.
    I'm a firm believer that all they can say is no, so it doesn't hurt to try.
  • bluecow219bluecow219 Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    So is it a given that I should write a letter? Would an email seem insufficient?
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Super Moderator Posts: 34,338 Super Moderator
    An E-Mail is not a letter. Put it on paper.
  • bluecow219bluecow219 Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    My dad agreed, Erin's Dad :P.

    Second question now: How much should I ask for? With loans and everything, my family could technically pay for my schooling, but of course we want to get the lowest amount possible. So up to what amount would be reasonable to ask for?
  • sk8rmomsk8rmom Registered User Posts: 5,746 Senior Member
    What is your unmet need (COA minus EFC)? I would compare your offer to the standard at this school (ie. published on College Board or elsewhere) and see if they're similar. If so or if you got more, it's probably likelier to ask for a few thousand or ask if you can be awarded work study if need exists.
  • Sandman62Sandman62 Registered User Posts: 114 Junior Member
    What about this situation? DD was accepted and received merit aid to several schools. Top choices are UConn and Quinnipiac. We're RI residents, so both are OOS. Even though UConn is public and QU private, one could argue that UConn is the "better" school, using stats like:

    First-year retention rate
    UConn 93
    Quinnipiac 88

    Graduation rate (6 years)
    UConn 74
    Quinnipiac 72

    High School Rank (US News 2008)
    Top 10% Top 25%
    UConn 39 78
    Quinnipiac 29 68

    Of course, "better" academically doesn't mean "better" overall and there are of course advantages to a smaller private school vs. a large public. So DD probably likes QU more than UConn. Here's the tricky part: QU offered her 14k/yr merit and UConn an OOS 1/2 tuition of 11,600/yr, yet QU's tuition is 32k and UConn's ~23k. So even w/ the higher merit award, QU would still cost 18k (tuition only) and UConn just 11,600, for a yearly difference of 6400. Of course that's more like 25k over 4 years.

    Would it be ok to ask QU if they might be able to offer a higher award to compare to UConn? I wouldn't think it'd be necessary to share the above stats w/ them, as I would expect they're well aware of their competition. Or is the fact that UConn is public and QU private make them NON-competitors? We just have a tough time justifying the difference for what is arguably not even the "better" school.

    Also, QU recently invited DD to their honors program, stating that it's reserved for only about 60 (top 5%) of their incoming freshman class. Their scholarships award 10-14k for students w/ SATs of at least 1200 and 16-18k for those above 1400; DD was 1300, plus top 5% of her class, all honors and some AP courses, two varsity sports, lots of ECs. QU seems to value her as a fine addition. However, UConn's 1/2 tuition award was supposed to require 1350 SATs and they obviously bent the rule a bit. I'm considering having DD relay some/all of this info to QU and asking them if they can bend a bit on the 1400 SAT. It could potentially yield us an additional 2-4k/yr.

    Thoughts are appreciated. Thank you.
  • RSD momRSD mom Registered User Posts: 25 New Member
    We have a similar situation with our son. He was offered a $9,000 merit scholarship from his first choice school, and $16,000 from another school he is probably not as interested in. The two schools are pretty comparable. Any thoughts on whether it would be appropriate to approach first choice school to see if they could increase the merit scholarship? Is this considered "bad form" in the academic world, or is it a common practice? Would appreciate any thoughts on this. Thanks!
  • milkandsugarmilkandsugar Registered User Posts: 2,869 Senior Member
    You can always politely and humbly ask . I would talk to the FA officer and state that your child is really interested in attending their school, very excited about the honors program, but would they even consider increasing their aid to make it more affordable/reachable for them to attend and that one or 2 or 3 other schools offered more aid. Be prepared to provide them with the info from the other schools .It doesn't hurt to ask. They are not obliged to do anything more. But it is the tone in which you ask that may make a difference.

    It is not in bad form and there are many more who ask this every year.
  • RSD momRSD mom Registered User Posts: 25 New Member
    Thanks milkandsugar! I'm feeling frustrated with the FAFSA too because there are a lot of relevant factors it doesn't take into account when determine EFC. In our case, that includes very large health insurance costs (19,000/year) because we are both self-employed; large mortgage (live in southern California); money paid to help support 90 year old grandmother; need to continue putting something into retirement plan (again, because we are self-employed). I sure wish there was a spot in the FAFSA for items such as these. Any thoughts??
  • milkandsugarmilkandsugar Registered User Posts: 2,869 Senior Member
    I feel your pain. I'm in the same boat. Daughter goes to her dream school but with our sacrifice. She was offered more money at some fabulous schools, Johns Hopkins, Boston University, U of Delaware, but she chose to go to a school that gave her way less money. This school was a perfect fit for her, we did get a little more money after we nicely asked for more, giving them the info as to what the other schools were giving. We spent many years supporting an elderly parent that lived with us, paying high taxes, a mortgage, etc and was never really able to catch up to what they say our EFC should be. Luckily we did save by the grace of God some money to help make her dream come true. I find that the schools that ask for CSS profile vs FAFSA were more generous with aid because you can factor in other expenses like caring for parents or a handicap child,etc. If you have extenuating circumstances, you can always speak with the fincial aid officers to explain your situation.
  • Sandman62Sandman62 Registered User Posts: 114 Junior Member
    In our case though, UConn didn't offer MORE merit aid than QU; but their tuition still ends up lower due to starting lower. Also, DD isn't sure she's interested in accepting QU's honors program offer - hopefully they wouldn't make that a condition of possibly offering more merit money?
  • maricamimaricami Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    I will certainly appreciate some feed back from the forum regarding merit-scholarships.

    The situation: My son was first accepted at his second College of choice in DeLand, FL. then few days later he received the acceptance letter fron his first College of choice in Melbourne, FL. too. So, been very happy about it, we went ahead and sent the deposit and registration to Melbourne. A letter arrived later awarding him $12,500 merit scholarship. The thing is that almost three weeks later the other University (in DeLand) sent a letter awarding him a merit scholarship in the amount of $21,000. Niiiice.
    My question: Since we already registered and sent the deposit to his first choice College, is there still a chance that they may increase the scholarship amount if nicely asked, (and mentioning the other offer) or we burned our chamces by rushing to accept the offer of Melbourne?

    How can I (or my son) put the demand/appeal/review to F.I.T.? Do we have any chance at this point?

    (My son is still going to attend F.I.T. College in Melbourne, FL. no matter what).

    Thank you.
This discussion has been closed.